Sacramento has kept its Kings but is facing strict deadlines, imposed by the NBA, for building the team a fancy new arena.
Hours after Vivek Ranadive and his partners completed the record-setting purchase of the franchise from the Maloof family, NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed that the Ranadive group must meet “a series of benchmarks” for a new arena – or risk losing the Kings to another city.
If deadlines are blown, Stern told The Sacramento Bee, the NBA has the option of pulling the Kings out of Sacramento and arranging for the team’s sale to new owners.
The Ranadive group agreed to the deadlines in writing, Stern said.
Stern said he doesn’t expect Sacramento to miss its deadlines, but league owners insisted on the doomsday option “in the unlikely event” Sacramento can’t get the arena project rolling in a “reasonable” amount of time.
The NBA is insisting that the building at Downtown Plaza open no later than 2017 – one year later than city officials forecast. The rival investors who tried unsuccessfully to move the team to Seattle agreed to similar deadlines, Stern said.
The new Kings owners – the eighth in the franchise’s history – expressed certainty that they can build the arena by the deadline. Ranadive spokesman Adam Mendelsohn said the team is “absolutely confident about the timeline with the NBA and the commitments that have been made” to construct a new arena.